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April 25, 2003

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mark, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center. Great round today, 65, ties Fred Couples round of 65 from the first day yesterday. 11 under for the tournament. Great position going into the weekend. Why don't you make a couple of comments on today's round, then we'll go into questions?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: First of all, I think I got the great draw with my tee times, although I had to sit around most all day yesterday and not come out here 'til 3:15, but it's better than sitting around in the locker room for three and a half hours. And the weather was just perfect once we started yesterday. Although the greens were pretty slow, slower than we're used to, our whole group were leaving a lot of putts short.

But there was no winds and then came out this morning, it was perfect, the greens were perfect, and I finished off the round with birdieing 8 and 9 this morning, which is a great way to finish any round, but especially when you have only -- I had 35 minutes, I think, until the start of my next round, so just went in and had a little more break fast and went right back out and birdied 1 and 2. So kind of kept it going. That's nice to be able to do that.

Anyway, but I am playing real well. Driving it well, although my statistics show I haven't hit that many fairways, I have hit the first cut of rough probably six times in two rounds, which maybe even seven times, I am not sure what it is - seems like I have been in the first cut a lot. That's fine. I have been keeping my driver in play and hitting my irons pretty good and made a few putts today.

Q. How do you think this course suits the way you like to play?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think it suits me great. There's room, pretty much, on every hole to start my fade out there and get my ball in the fairway. But I like long golf courses, although this course isn't playing very long right now. 16 and 17, I hit 9 irons into them, and I am certainly not the longest guy in the field by a long stretch, so it's firming up and it's still playing fairly short despite the yardage. But I enjoyed Torrey Pines this year, it played real long. Where you feel like if you go out and shoot a 69 or 70, you can pick up some ground and beat somebody. I kind of like that mentality as opposed to a shorter course where every hole is a wedge or a 9-iron or something and just feeling like you got to make birdies all the time. So having said, that the scores are low, two reasons for that, the rough isn't very thick, the course is in great shape, and there's really not that many places where disaster can set in. There's really only a couple of holes, 7, 17 and 18 -- I suppose you could -- 16, 17, 18 and the 7th hole, but other than that, even if you hit a bad drive, you can get a good lie, get it around the green, get it up-and-down and make your par. I think the weather is great also. So I think the scores are good. But the course isn't playing as hard as it could.

Q. You have been in the money each time you played this year. What do you attribute to that consistency?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think I had a real strong mindset this year to try not to lose my mind as little as possible. I have had a couple of episodes where I have kind of flown off the handle, but I think my fight has been really strong this year. And I am not one, if you polled everybody on Tour, who you would say has a lot of fight when things don't go the right way. Sometimes it looks like I throw in the towel, but basically it happens, I either get so frustrated or discouraged with my golf game, I just sort of basically lose my concentration.

So that was something that I really didn't want to let happen this year, as seldom as possible. I had a couple of stretches where it has. But I think this year I have really fought adversity well and been pretty proud of the way I have given it my absolute best on every single shot, all 18 holes, so I think that's kind of really helped me making all the cuts and really having very few bad rounds.

Q. Is there anything different you have done this year? Anything different about how --

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It is just something that you sit around in December, November, and some people go spend two hours everyday in the gym. That, obviously, isn't the case with me. So I got to try to do something else. I had my knee operated on after the third tournament, hurt it in the pro-am in Phoenix before the first round of the year, tore cartilage in my right knee and limped around. So right off the bat I had to fight through that. Really did pretty well considering how bad my knee hurt, had it scoped, probably came back a week too early, limped around and really despite that, last week was the first week that I haven't wore my knee brace and just walked 23 holes today and it feels great. My knee is back to feeling good and -- been a grim couple of weeks with my allergies -- but anyway, really wanted to -- I felt like somebody asked me a couple of weeks ago are you going to win a tournament this year. I said I will win a tournament this year. I honestly felt like it. I wasn't just making it up just saying, sure, I am going to win a tournament. I honestly feel like I am. I was in good shape after two rounds last week, tied for fourth. I will be in good shape this week going into Saturday. Now I have got to go out and I am narrowing in on it, but it's been a couple of years, so I am ready to jump into that winner's category again.

Q. You talked about how you enjoy playing a place like the length at Torrey Pines. With that in mind how much comfort do you have with the way this tournament is playing out, quite a few guys are going pretty low...

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That's fine. I can go low as evidenced by Phoenix and some other places where I have shot a lot of low scores, but I just -- the golf course itself I have a good eye for it. It suits my eye, and a lot better than the Woodlands did. I just had a hard time. I had thought Woodlands was a very hard golf course. Certainly wasn't anything wrong with it. I stood up on some of the tees and just freaked out. I couldn't hit the shot, and that happens to us out here and that's invariably why we end up skipping tournaments. You can't play them all anyway, but not every course suits everybody's eye. I heard this was a real straightforward course and those are the kind of courses I like. Long is fine, I don't mind hitting my 3-iron, my 4-iron. I like my long irons, so -- but like I said, the course isn't playing that long right now and I don't think it will this weekend because the weather looks good. My mindset was good coming in here that I was prepared to play a long golf course and I was excited to do that.

Q. (Inaudible) coming in here with Freddie and Jay, that the experience the way this golf course sets up may actually be an offering of a fairer opportunity for everyone who is on the Tour?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't know necessarily about that whether it be those two players. I think obviously the guys that you have on the top of the leaderboard are playing just that much better. The course is so fair and the wind not swirling around where one minute it is blowing 20 miles an hour and next minute it is stopping where it's got everybody baffled. It is as fair as it is going to get right now. Jay Haas has played great this year and some of those other guys have too. Fred has had a good stretch. Seems to be feeling good, playing well again.

I just think it is a course that honestly is going to reward the player who plays the best this week, you know, from the time he tees it up on the 1st tee to the time he holes it out on the last green. The champion is going to be who played the best this week. That's a good compliment to the golf course.

End of FastScripts....

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